Arts Council welcomes announcement of new Minister for Communities

6th February, 2024

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland welcomes the restoration of the NI Assembly and the appointment of the new Minister for the Department for Communities, our sponsor department.

The Chair of the Arts Council, Liam Hannaway, has written to the new Minister, Mr Gordon Lyons MLA, congratulating him on his appointment and requesting a meeting at his earliest convenience. We hope to brief him on the many benefits to our society and economy of investing in the arts. We want to help him to appreciate the enormous pressures on the arts and cultural sector, which need his urgent attention.

The Arts Council is asking Mr Lyons for an equitable and fair package of investment in the arts from the overall £3.2bn allocation offered to the NI Executive, so that we can deliver a society where all people can experience a thriving arts sector that is essential to creativity and personal wellbeing, as well as economic prosperity.

Gordon Lyons MLA is the DUP member for East Antrim. He has previously served as a Junior Minister, Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, and Minister for the Economy.

See the Arts Council's advocacy cards, including comparative arts investment figures across these islands, here:
Arts Council's advocacy cards


First Minister: Michelle O’Neill MLA, Sinn Féin, Mid Ulster
Deputy First Minister: Emma Little-Pengelly MLA, DUP, Lagan Valley
Junior Minister: Aisling Reilly MLA, Sinn Féin, West Belfast
Junior Minister: Pam Cameron MLA, DUP, South Antrim

Speaker of the House: Edwin Poots MLA, DUP South Belfast
Deputy Speaker: John Blair MLA, Alliance,
Deputy Speaker: Steve Aiken MLA, UUP, South Antrim
Deputy Speaker: Carál Ní Chuilín MLA, Sinn Féin, North Belfast

Minister for Communities: Gordon Lyons MLA, DUP East Antrim
Justice Minister: Naomi Long MLA, AP East Belfast
Economy Minister: Conor Murphy MLA, SF Newry & Armagh
Finance Minister: Dr Caoimhe Archibald MLA, SF East Londonderry
Education Minister: Paul Givan MLA, DUP Lagan Valley
Health Minister: Robin Swann MLA, UU North Antrim
Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Minister: Andrew Muir MLA, AP North Down
Infrastructure Minister: John O’Dowd MLA, SF Upper Bann
Leader of the Opposition: Matthew O’Toole MLA, SDLP, South Belfast

Communities Committee

Chairperson: Mr Colm Gildernew MLA, Sinn Féin, Fermanagh & South Tryone
Deputy Chairperson: Mrs Ciara Ferguson MLA, Sinn Féin, Foyle
Andy Allen MLA, UUP, East Belfast
Kellie Armstrong MLA, AP, Strangford
Maurice Bradley MLA, DUP, East Londonderry
Brian Kingston MLA, DUP, North Belfast
Daniel McCrossan MLA, SDLP, West Tyrone
Maoliosa McHugh MLA, SF, West Tyrone
Sian Mulholland MLA, AP, North Antrim
Committee Clerk: Emer Boyle

All Party Group on the Arts

The purpose of the All Party Group on the Arts is to provide a forum for All Party discussion and debate on the arts, to increase the understanding, visibility of arts in government and raise profile of relevant issues

Sian Mulholland MLA, Alliance, North Antrim (Chair)
Kellie Armstrong MLA, Alliance, Strangford
Carál Ní Chuilín MLA, Sinn Féin, North Belfast
Paula Bradshaw MLA, Alliance, South Belfast
Andrew Muir MLA, Alliance, North Down
Danny Donnelly MLA, Alliance, East Antrim
Nuala McAllister MLA Alliance, North Belfast
John Blair MLA, Alliance, South Antrim
Matthew O’Toole MLA, SDLP, South Belfast
Mark Durkan MLA, SDLP, Foyle
Sorcha Eastwood MLA, Alliance, Lagan Valley
Diane Forsythe MLA, DUP, South Down
Paul Frew MLA, DUP, North Antrim
Kate Nicholl MLA, Alliance, South Belfast
Claire Sugden MLA, Independent, East Londonderry